The Urban Context of Printing and Print Culture


Virtually all printing, during and beyond the ‘hand-press period’ [up to c.1830], was located in urban areas, and the products of the printing press became crucial to the development of urban culture. This long-term research project examines the reasons for this phenomenon, which were primarily economic and commercial but often also political, religious or social.

Printers’ decisions on where to locate their businesses were crucial to their success or failure. This project also examines the factors which influenced printers in their choice of location in London and provincial English towns.

Outcomes to date: two conference papers are being prepared for publication: ‘Printing and the English Urban Renaissance’ and ‘Eighteenth-century provincial printing in its urban context’. Also in preparation is an edited collection of essays,Text and Image in the City: Print and Manuscript Culture in British and European Towns and Cities. In November 2013, I gave a Miraeus lecture in Antwerp, ‘The Word on the Street: Print and Urban Space during the Hand-Press Period’, and led a research seminar at the University of Ghent on historical book-trade networks. Also relevant is the forthcoming publication, Historical Networks in the Book Trade, edited by John Hinks and Catherine Feely (Routledge, 2016).


Members involved in this research

Dr John Hinks